Thursday, April 09, 2009

trends in bra size

An issue in trends that I find interesting is the sizing of clothing. Bra size is a topic that gets highlighted periodically & is used to measure changes in average body size over time.

Your Bra Size: The Truth May (Pleasantly) Surprise You presents (NY Times, April 2009) that bra cup sizes are changing. The reasons: 1) band size is getting smaller for a better fit around the ribs, 2) body fat is increasing, 3) breast augmentation surgery retains its popularity, 4) an aging population relates to changing bust size, and 5) women are getting fitted for their bras & not just buying what they always buy. They also remark that the psychology of a smaller band size (might feel thinner) and a larger cup size (feel like a tramp, feel more attractive) is important for consumers and retailers.

In Australia, the trend is also to larger breast sizes. (FOX news, April 2009). Up to 40 percent of Ausie women now buy bras with a cup size of DD or higher, new figures from lingerie suppliers show. In the 1950s, the most common bra-cup size was a B -- three sizes below a DD. Interestingly, while in Los Angeles and New York women are purchasing larger breasts, Australian women are opting for more breast reductions.

Reductions are related to larger breasts due to increased fatty tissue present. "Sydney cardiologist Ross Walker said artificial oestrogens found in foods, plastics and cosmetics had also contributed to the growth spurt. Oestrogen in contraceptive pills also spurred the growth of breast tissue, Family Planning NSW research director Edith Weisberg said. "I think the higher-dose pills could, because the oestrogen causes development of the breast tissue," she said."

The Times of India reports on a British study (April 2009) "of 1,000 women showed that last year, the average bra size for British women under 30 was 36 inches, but now it has thinned to just 34. Meanwhile, the average cup size has increased from a C to a shapely D, reports the Sun. A spokeswoman for cosmetic surgery clinic Birkdale, which conducted the study, put the changes down to women taking more exercise, cutting down on booze and fast food — and simply buying the correct bra size, spurred on by TV makeover shows."

STATS: "At Wacoal America, one of the largest bra makers in the country, 36DD is on track to replace 36D as its most popular size in 2009. (Three years ago it was 36C.) Bare Necessities, an online lingerie retailer, said 34DD was its No. 10 best-selling size last year, up from No. 17 in 2002." (NY Times).


  • Do get fitted regularly Always try a bra on before buying. A correctly fitting bra is firm but not tight, doesn't creep up at the back, and is comfortable. Underwires should be clear of the breast tissue.
  • Do use a laundry bag when washing your bras wRemember body shape changes as we get older
  • Don't expect one bra size to be the same for every bra
  • Don't wear an incorrectly fitting bra hanging over the top of a cup means the cup is too small, not filling the cup means it is too big. Creeping up the back means the chest band is too loose.

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